I finally gathered my two castoff DVD players and the old stereo deck from my car and took them to Best Buy to check out their program for recycling electronics.
Before I could do this, I’d needed to take apart both DVD players to remove the discs that wouldn’t eject. To my relief, I found that removing the DVDs proved to be a much simpler process than extracting a VHS cassette from a videotape player.
- Assuming that you’re planning to discard the DVD player, just keep on unscrewing things and pull everything apart until you get to the piece that holds the DVD in place.
- Unscrew that piece, pull it off, and you should have your DVD in your hand, unscathed.
My copies of Major League and Crocodile Dundee are now back in their cases, ready to play the next time I use the treadmill.
Before heading for Best Buy, I checked the company’s website to see whether they accepted DVD players and stereo decks. Yes, they do, along with a great many other devices. (See the list here.)
While I was on the website, I clicked on their suggestion, “See what happens to your recycled product.” The link took me to a livestream video that presented some statistics on Best Buy’s recycling program and then demonstrated just what happens to the devices that we drop off at their stores.
- Best Buy packages the devices and ships them to one of the company’s chosen recyclers.
- The recycler disassembles them and separates them into their components.
- If they’re recycling a computer, they remove the hard drive, wipe it clean, and physically destroy it.
- They send the wiped hard drive and almost everything else to the shredder, where steel, aluminum, and precious metals are separated from the plastics.
- They take monitors apart by hard, pop out the circuit board and strip out the wiring, and send the cathode ray tube for crushing. The resulting glass shards are cleaned without water or toxic chemicals. A vacuum process removes the debris, and the remaining glass goes to the smelter.
- By the time the whole process is finished, what’s left is raw material for new products: plastic, aluminum, steel, precious metals from the circuit boards, and cobalt and iron from recycled batteries.
Confident that my recycled electronics would not end up in a landfill, I bagged the DVD players and the stereo deck and headed for the nearest Best Buy store. I walked in, explained my mission, followed the directions to the customer service counter, asked an employee whether I could just leave the product, acknowledged that I didn’t need a receipt, left the bag on the counter, responded to his “thank you,” and left.
As simple as that: three pieces of consumer electronics out of my spare bedroom and into the recycling system, and kept out of the landfill. Thank you, Best Buy!